'The Lion King' premiere: Even Donald Glover gushed over Beyoncé

Christina Schoellkopf, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES -- "Beyonce has to come."

"She's not on the tip sheet."

"There's no way."

You couldn't take a step down the red carpet at Tuesday's "Lion King" world premiere at the Dolby Theatre without hearing whispers from the news media, fans, publicists and celebrity guests alike about a possible Beyonce appearance.

The singer returns to the big screen July 19 as the voice of lioness Nala, opposite Donald Glover's Simba in Disney's reimagining of the 1994 animated classic. "The Lion King: The Gift" album, produced and curated by Beyonce, drops the same day as director Jon Favreau's remake.

Of course, just minutes before the carpet closed, the superstar made her grand entrance. Queen Bey and her princess, Blue Ivy Carter, stepped out in matching black and silver suits.


The deafening cries commenced, echoing a quarter mile down the Hollywood Boulevard city block. My ears rang for minutes.

Working with Beyonce was simply "iconic," said her costar Glover on the press line.

"They don't make them like Beyonce. She's kind of like the last of the Johnny Carson stars, like people you have to see," he said beneath an ombre orange tent. "I just learned and listened to her. I tried to put my best foot forward."

Twenty-five years ago, Nala and Simba were voiced by Caucasian actors, Moira Kelly and Matthew Broderick, respectively. The casting of Glover, Beyonce and recently Halle Bailey (a Beyonce mentee) as Ariel in Disney's upcoming live-action "Little Mermaid" exemplifies how the studio has been trying to add more diverse voices to its remakes of classics.


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